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ITIL :: View topic - Your Definition of a Change...?
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Your Definition of a Change...?
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Skinnera
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Joined: May 07, 2005
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Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 10:54 pm    Post subject: Your Definition of a Change...? Reply with quote

Understanding that the ITIL definition of a Change is "moving (a CI) from one defined state to another", I would be interested to know whether you use other definitions in the real world.

For example we don't have a CMDB therefore no CI's, so ours is as follows "Any work that will or has the potential to affect or degrade the quality of service to customers, or to expose live [organisation name] systems to increased levels of risk."

However this is somewhat vague and open to interpretation, if not outright abuse by raising a Change for almost everything (laying cables in a comms room, etc).

Looking to get a tighter definition and wanted to survey your opinions... Smile
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goitilcouk
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My initial (and somewhat gratuitous reply) is anything that annoys the support teams / developers Laughing but you have hit on a really key point. When you do read the pure ITIL definition of a change it does not leave much out (with the exception of making a point that it only covers production systems).

As a general rule we adopt the following guidelines:
    Producton systems only (unless dev/test share the same box, even if it is partitioned)
    Any project system (not live) which has a physical connection to the network
    Changes to code, schedules and environmental work


Out of scope at present is data changes although we are finding an increase in the number of outages caused by user initiated data changes so that may be coming into scope in the near future
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UKVIKING
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Skinnera,

What comprises your service ?

If it comprises of hardware (servers, routers, switches, etc), software (O/S), configurable data (IPs, LANs, Route tables)

You have CIs

You have a database or a listing of the assets right

Your system people have their list, your network theirs etc

You have the elements of the CMDB but you dont have a CMDB.
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Change Management is POWER & CONTROL. /....evil laughter
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Cekir
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Following John:

Think of any entity that influences your service. If the state of this entity changes then you have a change.

If you have no CMDB then you have to do in your head.
If you use a paper and a pencil to list these entities, then you have your first CMDB. Smile

good luck
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Last edited by Cekir on Fri Mar 02, 2007 3:14 am; edited 1 time in total
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UKVIKING
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And if you write everything down that influences your service and the relationships about those things

then you have achieved what no one has..... the full cmdb

giggle
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Skinnera
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the responses so far guys - but perhaps I have miscommunicated my requirement Embarassed.

I'm not looking for guidance on deciding what activity should be classified as a Change; rather, I'm looking to see the words other people use to define a Change in their organisation.

As an example, we define it as above; another definition I have seen is "An alteration to the features or components of a CI", goitilcouk provides another, etc.

I want to get a better definition to use across the company, that by its nature excludes people from raising Changes for thing like running cables near a live server. With our current definition, this carries a risk to live service (a clumsy engineer may knock the server, or dislodge a cable, etc).

In terms of a CMDB, to put things into context we are processing in excess of 2000 Changes per month across a national telecomms infrastructure, so irrespective of whether we understand what should be a CI, the size and complexity of the infrastructure (currently) prohibits putting a CMDB in place, Therefore the definition cannot use 'CI' as it has no context within our organisation.

Hope this makes things a bit clearer...? Confused
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UKVIKING
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SkinnerA

So you are doing 2000 changes per month. And ? The telco I used to work with did that as well in 2 weeks

Are you talking about internal IT IMAC (Install, Move, Add, Change) work for laptops, desktops etc

Are you talking about pure telco services such as phone number, line faults and line installs and configuration

Are you talking about telco products based on Internet technologies such as IP LAN, VoIP, IP Telephony Applications such as SMS, Call Voice Applications, Broadband, Dial-Up, Wireless

Are you talking about Internet technologies such as DNS services, Mail services, Web service, IP Networking & Subnetting, Web based applications, Hosting, etc

Are you talking about critical data base data updates ?
Are you talking about a combination of the above

If so, then one definition of change wont work by itself

How is the organization designed in regards to change management ?

Is change management silo'ed or do you have 1 change management org with a global reach ?

If you have a global reach or not, there needs to be a generic definition for the corporation, then a more pointed one for the different area of work

A telco and an IP telephony Application area would share some definitons of change management.

And your example of the clumsy facilities technican would require some ticket and process to make sure that all who may be affected by the clumsy actions of the data center tech be aware of what may happen

As to the CMDB, the assertion that you cant have one because your world is complex just does not hold water.

You have to have some database(s) where you store the relevent information for what ever services you provide as well what the engineers - s/w, h/w or telco - have to look up so that they know what needs to be changed ?

You may not have it all in 1 place - pphaugh - who does ?!? - but you have/use/need some sort of relationship database to deal with the complex nature of IT and telco environment
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Skinnera
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Way to go to make someone feel welcome and to completely not answer the question asked.

It's disppointing that you saw this as an opportunity to pick apart what you see as failings within my organisation (without any level of knowledge of that organisation upon which to base them) and offer generic 'best practice' answers, rather than an opportunity to help by suggesting a few actual definitions that you have used or seen in the past. That was after all what I was looking for. Confused
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UKVIKING
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SkinnerA,

For one thing, this is an ITIL forum web board and this forum we are in is the Change Management which deals with ITIL Change Management discussions.

You are in the correct place to ask the question, but I and others can not read into what you are not writing enough detail to answer the question as best as I (others) could.

No, I am not deriding your company.... Whether you do 2 changes or 2000 changes per month or more; it does not matter in defining change management scope and the underlying definitions. The only bearing that the volume would have on the change management process is how many people have to handle the change and how the changes are sub-classified into specific change management and control processes.

I am not trying to be sarcastic demeaning or anything other than helpful. Since I have worked for a large global telco, I am quite aware that the pure IT and telco environment can and do mix to varying degrees and any processes, policies and procedures need not only take the IT aspect but the telco aspect as well.

You asked a question that the answer would be more accurate and complete if the question had more meat in it.

Merely the fact that you want to know basically whether the ITIL 'book' definition is used in the real world should be a easy answer to make. teh asnwer is but course. Why else would ITIL be out there and consultants, trainers etc be out there hustling the 'word' if it can not be applied to the real world

The ITIL definition of what a change is used as accurately as possible depending on the environment that the definition is to be applied to.

For Example, in a IP LAN or VPN environment, where you merely make a quick change to a central database which automatically updates the LAN or VLAN or VPN that the customer is using, how should change management be handled ?

The true objective of change management is controling the work that is being done to the environment in order to make sure the engineers do it without screwing it up or having accidents or doing a 'oops'.

The control factor is making sure that the engineers doing the work know what they are doing, that they have a good idea how to do, in what order should it be done, indicate how often they have done it and how they will know whether to stop or back out. In addition, they should know the likelihood of failure -various degrees - and well of the speed of recovery.

These details should be part of a chaneg management policy which in brief detail explain whhat is needed to [b]Assess [/b]the change to the risk to the business or service.

Yes. I admit some changes may have more information about the effect of the work and some have less. Well, that is because some changes are doign so frequently and are such low impact that the classification of change would reflect that type of change

Question for you: Have you done / passed the Foundation course/exam?

Back to change management definition and usage

One part of the organization did Voice Application changes 'on the fly' because the customer usually contacted/ requested the work done within minutes/hours of wanting the change done. Should the change go through a long drawn out process or a shorten one or even not at all.

The company mgmt using data I gave them decided not to have this process go through formal change management because there was already a control and audit system used by the customers and the supporting engineers to deal with this issue. The customer's order request for the change was uniquely identified and affected only their environment on the Voice Application and when the company engineers did the work, it would ONLY affect the requesting customer.

That is the other aspect / aim /desire of change management - audit the work

If you allow your engineering staff to tweak the live environment whenever they feel like, then your customers and services that you provide and get income from your customers will suffer .

Your engineers will go .. gee I did not know that when I took the OLAP server down that the 20 applications depending on it crashed... I though there were # OLAP servers any way.....

Your senior mgmt will turn various shades of red - while entertaining not healthly.

Your customers will ask you why are your engineers are poking around when they want to use the system. What sort of Mickey Mouse company are you running ? (Unless you are Disney, this is an INSULT)

So, SkinnerA, does this better answer your question about using the ITIL definition of change as the basis for your company's change management process ?

Either way, let me know if you want more information, as Blackadder was answered, yes the abuse is in service fee :wink:
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Skinnera
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2007 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

UKVIKING wrote:

Question for you: Have you done / passed the Foundation course/exam?
I have the ITIL Foundation, the Managers, and the Change Practitioner.

I'm also a really good swimmer.
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Skinnera
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2007 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

UKVIKING wrote:
So, SkinnerA, does this better answer your question about using the ITIL definition of change as the basis for your company's change management process ?
That wasn't my question...
Skinnera wrote:
Understanding that the ITIL definition of a Change is "moving (a CI) from one defined state to another", I would be interested to know whether you use other definitions in the real world.
...
Looking to get a tighter definition and wanted to survey your opinions.
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UKVIKING
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Joined: Sep 16, 2006
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Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2007 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SkinnerA,

So you have done the same course work that i have done....OK

So if you have done that you should know what our opinions are at least going to be based on the ITIL model to start then we apply practical focus on top of that.

If you are at the same level as myself in that you have the Mgr's certificate and you are involved in change management ( i expect); why do you need the opinions from us which says basically

we use ITIL definition then apply real world practicality to it

If you have the Mgr's cert, you are a SME ( subject matter expert) for ITIL as far as I am concerned.

I dont understand the point of the question (original)....If you are asking for opinions... every one has one... they may match yours in some way or mine in some way....

But I think you should ask HOW we implement change in the real world.

and I thin I did that already
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Skinnera
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2007 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

UKVIKING wrote:
I dont understand the point of the question (original)....
The point was to see what words other people have used to define a 'Change' to the people in their organisation. I'm really not sure how I could have made it any clearer... Confused
UKVIKING wrote:
If you are asking for opinions... every one has one... they may match yours in some way or mine in some way....
Agreed, and I wanted to see what those were - ie opinions on how a Change had been definied in different organisations. Not opinions on what I should consider when thinking about how change is made, or the scope of Change Management in my org, or whether we should/could/do have a CMDB, or anything else.
Ironically that's the one thing you haven't provided in any of your comprehensive posts.

Honestly - it's like trying to plait fog... Rolling Eyes
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UKVIKING
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SkinnerA

I took some time to re-read the entire thread and thought about not answering as I thought I had already done so but in order to clear things up .. here goes

The definition used in my last company for the areas for which I was responsible was as follows

For the Managed Hosting & Related Services

Any work requested by the customer to change any of the services that are provided
Any work by internal infrastructure - system & network - which impacts on the customers directly or indirectly
Any work by our vendors to the infrastructure supporting our customers or the customer's infrastructure
Any work by facilities which would impact on the ability to provide services (we had no defined maintenance windows)
Any work requested to be done to the hardware or the software on the hardware which would impact the services provided

For the Voice Applications products

Any work which impacted on more than 1 customer or work render any services supporting infrastructure as a single point of failure
Any work which third parties would do
Any system or application configuration which did not have its own process with control and audit

So while the company did not have a ITIL defined CMDB, there were enough assets to be considered CIs which needed to be controlled

As for the current company

Any work on the infrastructure
Any work on the application
Any work on the facilities
Any mass data updates

on any environment which is used to provide services to the customer

They too dont have a CMDB as of yet but are working towards it. They understand the concept of CIs and the need for change management and control

Hopefully, this is what you are asking for

Also, IMNSHO, the fact that there is no CMDB does not mean you dont have CIs, the lack of a CMDB means that you dont have a central repository for CIs. Each of your working groups most likely control their own CIs

And as to the laying of cable across the floor, the Data Center management would not allow any cabling work of any kind w/o some sort of involvement of change or project management.

Now involvement does not mean control in all instances
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Skinnera
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, very helpful.
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